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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting
Thread started 27 Oct 2017 (Friday) 11:55
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bigger umbrellas?

 
Ltdave
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the farthest point east in michigan
Oct 27, 2017 11:55 |  #1

ive not got a lot of money (or need at this point) for studio strobes but i DO HAVE half dozen speedlites...

i also have a pair of 33" shoot through, a pair of 33" reflector and a 40-45" shoot through umbrellas...

to do a proper 3 light set up using a 3:1 key:fill set up with a background light, i think i probably need another 40-45" umbrella, yes? should i abandon the idea of shoot through and go with reflectors for better control of the light?

i have this notion in my head that i might actually shoot some full-length "models" one day and id rather have the right stuff on hand than not...




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MalVeauX
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Oct 27, 2017 11:58 |  #2

Depends on how much distance you want from modifier to subject and the softness or hardness of the light quality, and shape of catchlights, and what kind of control you want on ambient spill. Really matters on the working room space too. Umbrellas are very inexpensive, so you can play around with ideas for the cost of lunch basically.

Very best,


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smaeda
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Oct 27, 2017 12:42 |  #3

why not get a convertible so you can shoot through AND reflect. They are pretty cheap as well. And if you are doing full body, probably want to look at the 60" rather than 40-45.


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SkipD
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Oct 27, 2017 16:44 |  #4

Ltdave wrote in post #18482336 (external link)
should i abandon the idea of shoot through and go with reflectors for better control of the light?

In my opinion, YES. To me it seems quite silly to blow light all around the space you're using as a studio. In the best of conditions that I can think of, it wastes one heck of a lot of light rather than controlling where it goes.


Skip Douglas
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TeamSpeed
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Oct 27, 2017 16:54 |  #5

I just picked 2 of these up, and I like them. The strobe sits inside with the stubby umbrella shaft, nice and neat.

https://www.amazon.com ...age_o03_s00?ie=UTF8​&psc=1 (external link)


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Bassat
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Oct 27, 2017 16:59 |  #6

I don't have any big umbrellas, and I get by just fine. Most of my studio stuff is small product, but my setup works for people, too. I have 2 30" shoot-through, 2 30" reflector umbrellas, and 2 8"x12" flash-mounted soft-boxes that I use for BG light. Some minor difficulties I have with this setup are:

Sometimes I really have to work to keep the umbrellas out of the shot. Larger umbrellas would help, but create two additional problems: 1.) I don't have much room to back things up in my studio (kitchen). 2.) The shoot-throughs already have hots spots with 580EX IIs. Bigger would make that worse.

I got cheap with lighting stuff, except for the flash units. My gear comes from Cowboy Studios and is quite flimsy, but works well indoors. I sometimes supplement with snoots and flags made out of paper towel tubes and cereal boxes. Cheap works, well enough for me.


Tom

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TeamSpeed
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Post has been last edited 23 days ago by TeamSpeed. 3 edits done in total.
Oct 27, 2017 17:27 |  #7

I would think though for this topic, it is more about paid gigs and having a system that is flexible but will last as well. So Cowboy Studio things are okay for home, but I can guarantee you that after transporting this gear around and setup/tear down many times a month, they don't hold up.

I purchased larger 47" reflectors because I think this will help quite a bit more with my family portraits, creating 2 very large light sources with strobes to get them all exposed well. I will use my smaller reflector umbrellas with my flash units for rim lighting, but the trick there is to keep them out of the photos. I have to set them off to the sides and aimed forward, so having the smaller umbrellas (or reflector panels) in the back this year should work well enough. The smaller reflector umbrellas I have been using in the front are now freed up for other places in the studio.

My AD360 will likely be up near the ceiling near the center, an AD200 off to each side with their diffusers, and then 2 685 flashes for rim lighting. We go for a black background each year, so I have a very large seamless background, but also with enough distance between them and the background, and closer lighting to the people, the backgrounds go black kinda on their own anyways.

This is an annual big event for our church, I offer up my extensive equipment, and small amount of talent and experience, each Christmas so that our families and their extended families can obtain family portraits free of charge. It makes them very happy!

This is a sample from last year, I want to make it better yet again this year. I went from 2 little flash units, to flashes and continuous daylight lighting, then to 2 strobes/2 flashes, and now this year, 3 strobes and 2 flashes, with better modifiers.

IMAGE: https://photos.smugmug.com/Holidays/Christmas-2016/i-2mF94Z4/0/9ead8837/XL/FX8A6914-XL.jpg

We have been doing this for 8 years now, I believe.

Here is a shot from 2011, it makes me cringe now, and I am ashamed to post it. My DOF was off, in-camera settings poor, only 2 Canon flashes not placed well, or diffused well, WB way off, and didn't know what distances of lights or background played in the photo. Each year, they get better though. Mostly due to the fine people here on POTN that I have had the privilege of learning from. :)

IMAGE: https://photos.smugmug.com/Holidays/Christmas-2011-Portraits/i-mx9jhXS/0/2e7e5d41/X2/BIG_8573-X2.jpg

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Wilt
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Oct 28, 2017 13:08 |  #8

Once again, "It depends..."


  • If your intention is single head & shoulders portraiture or headshot, you want one very soft source for Fill with a not-as-soft source as Main.

  • If your intention is group portraiture, two very similar sized sources permit even illumination across the full group

  • If your intention is single or couple full length standing, you might want one very soft source for Fill with a not-as-soft source as Main. or you can have two equally large sources with one a bit less powerful than the other for subtle contouring of the face


What are you trying to do?

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Ltdave
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Oct 28, 2017 16:58 |  #9

Ltdave wrote in post #18482336 (external link)
...

i have this notion in my head that i might actually shoot some full-length "models" one day ...




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Wilt
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Post has been edited 22 days ago by Wilt.
Oct 28, 2017 18:05 as a reply to Ltdave's post |  #10

Yes, I saw that musing from you...I have an idea of what you might do in the future,
but that unfortuanatly also gives me ZERO idea about what you shoot right NOW!


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Ltdave
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Oct 28, 2017 18:23 as a reply to Wilt's post |  #11

i play around with head shots mostly...

some regular portraits (mid-chest?)...




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Wilt
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Post has been last edited 22 days ago by Wilt. 3 edits done in total.
Oct 28, 2017 18:35 |  #12

Ltdave wrote in post #18483442 (external link)
i play around with head shots mostly...
some regular portraits (mid-chest?)...

In that case, let us first look at what you said you currently use

  • i also have a pair of 33" shoot through,
  • a pair of 33" reflector and a
  • 40-45" shoot through umbrellas...


That tends to leave your shots with 'soft' lighting, as it is doubtful that you ever set lights at 100-120" away, where any of them would just begin transitioning to approach a 'point' source! I presume your 33" reflector might be a beauty dish?
If you wanted to give the 'character' of wrinkles to an older face, for example, a smaller (i.e. 'harder') source is of value. A snoot and/or a set of grids might also come in handy.
More CONTROLLED (less random spill) yet soft source -- a softbox -- rather than shoot-thru umbrellas. And maybe a arid for the softbox for a bit more 'directionality'
And of the above items before I woudl simply opt for 'bigger umbrella'

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Ltdave
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Oct 28, 2017 22:47 as a reply to Wilt's post |  #13

should have been more specific...

the 33" reflective are reflective umbrellas (silver inside, black outside)...




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F2Bthere
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Oct 29, 2017 23:46 |  #14

A large reflector is often a better fill.

V-flats are great in a studio and are easy to make and not super expensive. They are incredibly versatile.

If you need portable, this looks like a reasonable solution:

https://www.adorama.co​m/glrp3570.html (external link)

Reflectors have many advantages. The light will always look natural and often significantly better. Many photographers screw up the fill. Reflectors can be done better and worse, of course, but a white reflector will almost never look completely wrong, which is easy enough to do with a fill light.

Not to say a huge umbrella isn't a good and useful tool (love the 7' umbrella with the optional diffuser) and, properly placed, it is a good fill. And a really large umbrella with diffuser can give you a very nice main light with incredible wrap around. I have the Westcott.

This looks to be a good version and is on sale with diffuser for $100:

http://www.cheetahstan​d.com/product-p/p7-sd.htm (external link)

If you don't get the diffuser, white is probably a better choice. I like the silver with diffuser combo because I can get the crisper silver throw when I want it, but have a soft option when needed. Silver alone is too harsh for many situations.


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RDKirk
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Oct 30, 2017 21:13 |  #15

F2Bthere wrote in post #18484395 (external link)
If you need portable, this looks like a reasonable solution:

https://www.adorama.co​m/glrp3570.html (external link)

.

I tried those, wanted hard to like them, ultimately tossed them. I found them too small overall, 'way too small for the studio when something larger was equally convenient, 'way too small on location when something larger and less fiddly to erect was equally convenient.

I still have a bunch of old square Reflectasols that I still use quite a bit.




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